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Several pictures of doctors who are featured on the Local Legends web site

MEET LOCAL LEGEND: Ramoncita R. Maestas, M.D.

Picture of Ramoncita R. Maestas
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Ramoncita R. Maestas, M.D.

“Family medicine is a wonderful practice; it allows you to practice birth to death medicine, and be involved in the overall health of the whole family, and that's a great privilege for me.”


Jim McDermott



Growing up on a remote cattle ranch in northern New Mexico, Raye Maestas helped her father round up and brand cattle, and castrate and dehorn bulls – an experience that at first led her to consider a career as a veterinarian. But then an aunt who was in her early 40s died of a heart attack, and Maestas began to see how quality health care was rare in a rural setting.

"I saw the disparity in health care in rural America; babies stillborn and my aunt dead of a heart attack that probably could have been prevented, all because we had no readily available health care," she recalled.

Her grandmother was another big influence on her decision to become a physician. "She was not a doctor, but a healer with amazing hands; she could place them on you and with massage and her words make you feel better." Interested both in science and helping people, she set out to serve those most in need of medical care in rural and, later, urban communities.

Nominated as a Local Legend of Medicine by Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA-7), Maestas has built a career as a gifted practitioner of family medicine in some of the neediest communities in Seattle, and as an outstanding teacher of clinical medicine.

A family physician at Harborview Medical Center, she also is a faculty member of the University of Washington School of Medicine and head of its Denali College, one of five small colleges within the School of Medicine which combine to offer an innovative curriculum of cross-cultural medicine which Maestas has helped to develop. She is also nationally recognized for her work in training physicians to help stem domestic violence.

Lauds her colleague Alfred O. Berg, M.D., Professor and Chair of the School of Medicine's Department of Family Medicine, "Raye is one of the most brilliant clinical teachers among our clinical faculty, with extraordinary skills, experience and commitment to her work. She has truly made a difference in the lives of countless patients, residents, students, and faculty."

Maestas began her career with a residency at the University of Washington's Providence Family Practice Residency Program in Seattle, then moved on to work with the underprivileged at the SeaMar Community Health Center.

She has twice received the Distinguished Service Award from the University of Washington, and in 2007, received its Early Alumni Achievement Award. She was Family Doctor of the Year in Washington State in 1994, and one of four finalists for the same award the next year. She has delivered endowed lectures at the regional and national levels, and many residency programs around the country use her curriculum materials to enrich their medical training.

Married with two children, she says proudly, "I love my work and it's wonderful, but my children and family are really my greatest achievement."



Appointed Clinical Instructor (1986), Clinical Associate Professor (1990), Associate Professor (2002) University of Washington Department of Family Medicine, Seattle, WA


Appointed Faculty Director, Sea Mar Satellite, Providence Family Practice Residency Program, Providence Campus, Seattle, WA


Appointed Faculty, Swedish Family Practice Residency Program, Providence Campus, Seattle, WA


Appointed Director, Behavioral Medicine Curriculum, Swedish Providence Family Practice Residency Program, Seattle, WA


Family Doctor of the Year in Washington State (1994); Finalist, Family Doctor of the Year, American Academy of Family Physicians (1995).

1995 and 2007

Honored with Distinguished Service Award, University of Washington Office of Multicultural Affairs and Medical Alumni Association (1995), and University of Washington, School of Medicine (2001), and Early Alumni Achievement Award, University of Washington, School of Medicine Alumni Association (2007).


Appointed Head of Denali College, and Associate Chair, Introduction to Clinical Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA




University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA


Family Medicine